The decision to undergo surgery should never be taken lightly. In emergency situations, a person may have little choice. However, when it is an elective procedure or there is time to plan, it is important to take into consideration several points for the best possible outcome. No one should rush into a procedure without doing a little homework first.
1. What’s the bottom line?
Before opting for surgery, it’s time to ask the doctor how this procedure will improve one’s quality of life. Is it truly going to make a difference? Will there be a reduction in pain, the elimination of a troubling symptom, or an improvement in a body function? If a physician is recommending the surgery, is it absolutely necessary or are there other alternatives? Get one or more other opinions concerning the procedure before making the final decision to ensure all other options have been exhausted. If it is an elective procedure, will the benefits outweigh the risks?
2. What are the possible complications?
Whether the procedure is minor or major, there are always potential risks involved in any surgery. Anesthesia can be problematic in some cases where patients have reactions to the drugs that are used during an operation. An irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and aspiration are common issues that take place during surgery. Bleeding problems may arise as well as patients bleed profusely or experience blood clots. While no one wants to admit it, death may occur during a surgical procedure. Once surgery is over, delayed healing and infection are other threats that some people have to contend with. When it comes to any elective procedure, patients really need to consider the possible hazards.
3. Find the best surgeon.
When surgery is on the horizon, it is important to find the best person for the job. A primary care doctor can make recommendations, as well as friends, family, and colleagues. Don’t choose a surgeon simply because he or she accepts an insurance policy or because the bill will be cheaper. A surgeon should be someone who is extremely competent with a high success rate in the operating room. It may also be necessary to find a specialist. Determine if the surgery can be performed by a general surgeon or if it would be better to go with someone in a particular specialty area.
In addition to choosing a surgeon, find out about the facility where the procedure is going to be performed. The staff should be welcoming, ensuring a patient will be in the best hands during a procedure. Take note of the conditions of the rooms and waiting area to determine if there are high standards in cleanliness and care. Choosing a surgeon may go hand in hand with finding a location for the operation as well. The patient’s comfort should be a top priority.
Anyone planning on a surgical procedure needs to be well-informed. It is time to ask questions and get adequate answers first. Once satisfied, a patient can move forward, fully prepared for what lies ahead.
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Sharon Turner has been a CRNA for the past 8 years and has assisted with countless surgeries. Sharon often writes about her career and has contributed to the CRNA Career Guide for anyone interested in becoming a CRNA.